The auto manufacturer stated that the vehicles had met all the safety regulations at the time of its manufacturing. However, critics had pointed out that because the gas tanks were placed behind the rear axle of the SUVs, the chances of the cars catching fire in rear-end collisions were high
Chrysler Group of the US has agreed to inspect 2.7 million older-model Jeep Grand Cherokee and Liberty SUVs which the critics say is prone to bursting into flames after rear-end impacts. Chrysler had earlier refused the safety regulator’s request to recall the jeeps, but now has agreed to check the vehicles, thus ending their differences with the regulator. The refusal was quite a shock to the automobile industry as they usually do what the Government asks them to do.
In a brief statement, the automaker said "Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles. Chrysler Group regards safety as a paramount concern and does not compromise on the safety of our customers and their families." He also said that if necessary, they will install a trailer hitch assembly along the rear of the vehicle which will help to manage the crash force in low speed impacts and will also deflect damage to the gas tank.
Critics had pointed out that because the gas tanks were placed behind the rear axle of the SUVs, the chances of the cars catching fire in rear-end collisions were high. But Chrysler argued that the vehicles had met all the safety regulations at the time of its manufacturing and they have also changed the design of the new models which have the gas tanks ahead of the rear axel.
In its agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Chrysler is not admitting that the vehicles were defective because if he did, he would have to face many lawsuits filed by accident victims and their survivors. "Chrysler Group’s analysis of the data confirms that these vehicles are not defective and are among the safest in the peer group," the company said. "Nonetheless, Chrysler Group recognizes that this matter has raised concerns for its customers and wants to take further steps, in coordination with NHTSA, to provide additional measures to supplement the safety of its vehicles."
The dispute related to the SUVs is not new. It’s been dragging on since years. In 2011, a Jeep Grand Cherokee exploded into flames after being rear-ended by a pick-up truck at a stop light. A family of four died in the accident. The parents, Mark and Amanda Roe burned to death while their sons Caleb, 11 and Tyler, 4 were killed by the impact. Consumer crusader Ralph Nader called on the company to recall the vehicles, calling them "a modern day Pinto for soccer moms with a fuel tank located dangerously behind the rear axle in the crush zone of an impact."
In 2013, again two people burned to death in their Jeep Grand Cherokee. Jenelle Embrey of Linden, VA was riding with her father on Interstate 81 in the Shenandoah Valley when the traffic slowed to a halt on the chronically-congested highway. Suddenly, they were hit from the rear by a Jeep that in turn had been rear-ended by a tractor-trailer truck that failed to stop. Immediately the back of the jeep caught fire. Embrey's father smashed the window and rescued a teen-aged boy but was driven back by flames before he could rescue another teen and their mother. "Dad and I stood in front of the Jeep and watched in horror as the mom and teen burned to death. The saved teen watched the burning Jeep too as he tearfully screamed, 'Mom! Mom!” Embrey said. She had launched an online petition, hoping to motivate federal safety officials to order a recall. The petition has gathered nearly 1,28,000 signatures. She had also purchased space on several billboards in the Winchester area urging consumers to sign her petition.
There has also been a debate on the number of accident that has taken place. Embrey says the current count is 287 deaths in 202 fiery crashes. But Chrysler and NHTSA cited lower figures and claim that the Jeeps have a safety record comparable to similar vehicles of the same age. Moreover NHTSA issued a statement saying that it was "pleased that Chrysler has agreed to take action to protect its customers and the driving public" but said it would continue their investigation into this issue, pending the agency’s review of the documents provided by Chrysler in its recall action. NHSTA also added that the consumers affected by the safety recall and customer satisfaction campaign should immediately have their vehicles serviced once they receive a notification from Chrysler.
The decision comes following the appeal by the Delta Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association of a lower court decision in July 2012 that determined that the Exim Bank improperly approved financing for purchases of certain Boeing aircraft by Air India
A US court has rejected a plea by the Delta Airlines to vacate the US Export-Import Bank’s support for the sale of 30 Boeing wide-body jets to Air India.
At the same time, the US Court of Appeals in Washington DC asked the Exim Bank to further explain its financing decision for the Air India transactions.
However, it chose to leave undisturbed the bank’s financing of the Air India transaction and did not question the bank’s flexibility in carrying out its statutory mandate.
The decision comes following the appeal by the Delta Airlines and the Airline Pilots Association of a lower court decision in July 2012 that determined that the Exim Bank improperly approved financing for purchases of certain Boeing aircraft by Air India.
In its lawsuit, Delta Airlines had alleged that Exim failed to consider the economic impact of its loan guarantees for the purchase of wide-bodied Boeing aircraft by Air India.
It alleged that Exim Bank’s decision to provide a loan guarantee of $3.4 billion to Air India, to help it buy 30 aircraft from Boeing, would badly affect several US airlines, especially the Atlantic-based carrier, Delta.
"I am gratified by the court’s recognition that these transactions should not be impeded by litigation. The bank maintains significant flexibility in complying with its statutory mandates and its effort to support American jobs.” said Fred P Hochberg, chairman and president of Exim Bank.
“This represents a victory for tens of thousands of American aerospace workers,” he said.